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All kids have their fears when they’re young. Most common is an intense fear of the dark. As a kid, my brain would often play tricks on me and make me think the shadows in my room were moving. A lot of the time I’d see what appeared to be the shape of a man, moving along my walls. When I would tell my mom she would just say that the street lamps outside were casting shadows through my window. Of course I never believed her. I was convinced there was a ghost in my room, watching me sleep every night. I can recall one night, though, where my fear seemed to materialize.
I was nine at the time. I remember it perfectly. It was a hot summer night and our air conditioning had broken the morning before. Of course my dad insisted he could fix it himself, but all his attempts just caused more problems. Well at this point it was unbearably hot in the house and the whole family was ready for bed. My mother went around as I changed into pajamas, opening all the windows in the house to allow the air to circulate. She kissed me goodnight, opened my window, and left the room. She shut the door behind her, which I always hated. It made me feel like I would have nowhere to go if something did happen. And that’s exactly what happened.
I was terrified as usual. I laid in my bed, sheets pulled up to my chin, teddy bear in my arm, staring up at the ceiling. I tried not to look to the sides, because I was always scared that I would catch something out of the corner of my eye. I finally looked at my new digital clock on my nightstand after what felt like hours. It read 3 AM. I got a little excited because I remember realizing this was the latest I’d ever stayed up. In my excitement, I made the mistake of relaxing and turning my back to my door to face the wall. That’s when I heard the noises.
I knew my parents weren’t up, they both were heavy sleepers and they wouldn’t be up until 7 AM. My older sister wasn’t even home at the time. But I knew I heard the sounds of feet scuffling outside my door. They got louder as they approached. At this point I was nearly in tears. I couldn’t handle the impending feeling of terror. I jumped out of my bed, bawling, and ran to the corner of the room with my blanket and teddy bear. I pulled it up over my head and held Teddy close, shaking and sniffling. Then, the door creaked open.
I could see through the light sheet a bit, unfortunately. A tall, shadowy figured stepped into my room. He stopped and looked around and looked puzzled when he saw the window. I tried to muffle my crying the best I could as he walked past me and shut my window. That’s when I realized I had no place to run, and I couldn’t keep my crying quiet any longer. He heard me and spun around. The figure started to step towards me. I looked away and buried my knees into my face. I felt the sheet get ripped off me. I didn’t dare look up. Then I heard his voice. It was deep and frightening. He asked what I was doing there.
I didn’t answer and he seemed to get angry. He asked again with a hint of malice and grabbed me by the arm to pull me up. I fought back. I fell over onto my side as he attempted to pull me up. I kicked and screamed until I finally gave up and opened my eyes. He was gone. My mom and dad were running through my doorway. After I calmed down I tried to explain what I saw, but of course they told me it was just a dream and sent me back to bed. I didn’t sleep that night, but it was the last time I ever saw him.
I’m 22 years old now. My parents moved into a larger house and my sister is off in California doing her “own thing” as she called it when she was a teenager, so I was given the house to call my own. So about a week ago I returned from a trip to the beach with a few friends I went to high school with. It was fantastic and I was nice and relaxed and ready for a nap when I got home. I pulled into the driveway sometime in the early morning, grabbed all my bags, and fumbled with my keys at my door. When I got inside, everything seemed alright for the most part.
I sat my bags down on my couch and kicked off my shoes. I was about to plop down and turn on the TV when I heard what sounded like someone shifting around in my bedroom down the hall. My door was locked when I came in so I wasn’t too worried. Probably just hearing things, I thought. Nonetheless, my curiosity got the best of me and I slowly headed down through my hallway to my bedroom. As I walked, I could hear more of that same shifting noise. Almost as if someone was laying in my bed. I relaxed for a second and sighed. A friend of mine had a key to my house and liked to crash here occasionally. He must’ve shown up while I was away. He likes to make himself at home like that.
As I reached for the handle, I heard something jump up and run. He must be playing a joke on me, I thought. I opened the door slowly and looked around. My bed was empty, but unmade. I looked up and saw that my window was open. I knew for a fact I locked everything before I left. I walked over to it cautiously, pulled it shut, and latched it. As I went to turn around, I heard it. I heard the crying.
I froze for a second, ready to have a panic attack. I caught my breath and turned around. In my corner was a huddled mass of blanket, shaking violently. I knew for a fact it wasn’t there when I walked in, I would have noticed something like that. I bent over and tore the sheet up, throwing it back behind me.
A small child was sitting in the corner, sobbing loudly with his head buried in his knees. I asked him what he was doing there. I was just as frightened as he was. He didn’t answer, and out of fear, I asked him again while grabbing his arm to help him up. He immediately slid onto his side and went to kick me in the knee. I freaked out and squeezed my eyes tight, half expecting this lunatic kid to jump up and claw my eyes out.
I stood with my arms in front of my eyes for a second. Nothing happened. I slowly lowered my arms, opened my eyes, and stepped backwards to make sure I wasn’t going to be attacked. The little boy was gone.
I turned around to find my bed was made just like I had left it, with the sheets and all. I looked around, still scared, and then noticed that laying on my floor was my old teddy bear that I’ve had since I was a child. I bent down to pick it up. It was warm and wet from tears.